Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Experience and Silk Overload

Whew!  What a whirlwind these past few months have been.  The Southeast Animal Fiber Fest (SAFF) has come to an end and I find myself with weekends to spend how I choose.  More on that later, now I want to share about the workshops!

I had a fantastic time teaching at SAFF.  Imagine getting to spend 4 full days with
women who are brimming with creativity and getting to play with wool and silk the whole time! Lots of smiles and laughter were shared and I was astounded by the many ideas that came from everyone.

The only drawback to being a newbie to teaching large groups (20 felters at a time), was making sure I had enough supplies to give them a large choice of colors.  All of the nuno classes incorporated silk hankies into the designs.  So I dyed 3 lbs, yes, 3 lbs of hankies!  I had every color under the rainbow available and realized at the end, I truly could have stuck with about 1 lb. and had now I have HUGE mountains left over. Horrible problem eh? ;)

So that is what inspired some new designs I am playing with. This new design is EVERYTHING I love.  Color, over the top texture, silk, and cotton.  The style is what was described to me by a close friend as natural, earthy, very boho.  Okay, I'll go with that.  I'm not much of a bling gal, so there is something about this combination of materials that really pulls me in.....and I get to use the hankies!  Win!

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me through my rambles. Off to visit the critters.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summer Wrap-up

Once again I find myself with a gap since my last post.  But boy has it been busy around here!  

The bulk of my summer break has been filled with ordering supplies, dyeing silk and wool, and making samples for SAFF in October.  It has been a huge learning experience already and as always, lessons are being learned.  The classes are filling up and my excitement is growing!!

In between all of the prep for SAFF,  I made a huge decision to leave the district that I have spent my entire teaching career.  After the decision was made, panic set in and I wondered/worried that I may have made a huge mistake.  What if I could not get a job in the district that I now live in? Oh the sleepless nights that were endured....... I applied for 2 positions and got interviews and the happy news is that I did get the position I wanted and am anxiously awaiting the start of another hectic but rewarding school year. Whew!  Now the sleepless nights are full of the standard beginning of the school year nightmares that include losing my class or the entire class refusing to listen, sigh....even after 13 years, these dreams come back like clockwork!  

On the fiber front, back in May, I had the opportunity to sign up for a workshop taught by Australian Fiber Artist Michelle Snowdon. This workshop took place last weekend in Sarasota.  Hands down, it rated at the top of any fiber workshop or learning I have had the chance to be involved with since the beginning of my fiber journey.  Amazing is a word that can be used to describe both Michelle and her work.  Check her out:

And......of course......animal news.....

We have 2 new members that joined our goat herd.  Twin 8 week old Pygora (pygmy/angora) fiber goats.  Mimi is the female and Moe is her brother.  Once again our farm is experiencing the craziness that new goats bring!  

These little imps can fit through some of the tiniest spaces and have kept us hopping.  Yesterday, as my daughter and I were wet felting a fleece rug outside, she, my daughter, looked over toward the pasture area and gasped.  Of course her gasp got my attention quickly and my eyes followed the direction that she had already started moving.  And what did I see you ask?  Well it seems that little Moe had decided to squeeze between the large gate that leads into one of the alpacas pastures.  So when my daughter looked over all she saw was this little tiny goat sitting on the WRONG side of the fence, totally oblivious to where he was.  Luckily, this pasture was being rotated and the alpacas did not have access to it.  I don't think that they would hurt the goats, but I do know that with all of those long legs and curious noses, it could have turned into a problem.  Thank goodness all is well that ends well!  The babies are doing great and  the other goats are super interested in them because of their teeny tiny sizes.  Knowing that these will be the last babies for a LONG while, I am enjoying every single second I can with them.  

Once again, thanks for the visit!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Warped Again?

I was sure I had gotten over the rigid heddle weaving bug.....I even sold my loom.  I was positive all I wanted to weave were triangles on my tri-looms.......  

Yeah right......  :). Look what the UPS man delivered.

So once again I am warping and weaving and loving it! 

I am currently working on my Ashford 32" rigid heddle loom and am loving the yardage that I can get with this loom!  The project that is currently being woven is a messenger bag body.  It is using a variety of mill spun and hand spun.
I guess I better get back to work or this will never make it off the loom!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Design and a Silly Goat!

Quite a few months ago I created a few smaller weavings on a tri-loom with the idea for a new design.  Finally, after many months, I have completed them.  This bag was taken from raw fleece that I processed, dyed, spun and then wove.  I absolutely loved every step in the evolution of this bag.  Two more are awaiting straps, which I am weaving currently, and will be finished shortly.

Now onto my silly angora doe Chessie.  She decided she needed to join me as I was laying on top of a picnic table in one of the shady areas of a pass trough pasture.  Silly goat, trying to give me a kiss! ;)
Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Oh Where, Oh Where Did My Sun Go?

Once again this post has me shaking my head at how fast time has flown since my last post!

As typical here in Florida, we have been having afternoon thunderstorms.  While I love how green it makes the pastures, it creates a whole other level of mess when you are dealing with animals.  

Here is the glorious green grass in the goats paddocks.  These are 2 shade/rain shelters for the goats in case they don't feel like running back to the barn.  I personally think they are a waste since my goats seem to love running around like fools in the rain.  

Case in are two of my dodos who love to sit in the rain....they are soaked!

Before the rain started, I tried a round of solar dyeing in 1/2 gallon mason jars.  I was happily surprised at how successful it was and plan on (once the sun comes back) continuing this daily throughout the summer. 

Here is a shot of the dried fiber ready for some fluffing.
Just a reminder that sign up for my classes at SAFF are open!  Drop me a line if you sign up!

Time to feed the critters, more later-happy creating!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New goat and a new "old" barn!

I cannot believe it has been a month since I posted last! It's been a busy time here for sure. Where to start......

We have a new fur baby that joined us here at Sunshine Oaks Farm. She is a little angora doeling named Annie. She is such a tiny little thing, especially when I see her next to my other angoras. We introduced her after everyone else was sheared so it was complete pandemonium here for a week or so while everyone established their rank in the pecking order. Since Annie is the baby, of course she came last.

The next bit of excitement for me around here was the conversion of an older pole barn on our property into a closed barn that became the goats new home, complete with stalls, water, and electricity! After much work, and excitement, the goats are in their new home and they seem pretty happy. They have access to 3 new paddocks and have spent their days foraging for just the right snack.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Felted Pods and Allergy Fun

Well I have a smaller project to share this time. I have been working on making wool pods to hang in the Oak tree next to my workshop. I started this project using a large teardrop shaped resist. I layered 3 layers of wool for each side. Then the rolling started. After snipping a hole in the front, I removed the resist and rubbed the edges of the hole to seal the cut edge.

I think this smaller project was just what I needed to keep the creative juices flowing while I battle the worst allergies I have ever had. I read that it is oak pollen that is at high levels...... My farm is called Sunshine Oaks for a I guess I better find a good allergy medicine and learn to deal with it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Felting Frenzy, Exciting News, and Crazy Goats!

HeHebasketFor the past couple of months I have been thinking about projects I would like to create.  But I never quite got beyond the thinking stage.....there was always an excuse why I could not get those projects started.  I finally jumped in and have been on a creative bender so to speak and for the most part, almost all of those ideas became completed projects!  Here are just a few that I wanted to share. Lot's more to share......soon.

Hand Spun   Pillow

The next bit I have to share is some SUPER. EXCITING. NEWS......

I will be teaching Nuno Felting and Wet Felting at SAFF this year! Here is the schedule and if you are in the area, please stop by, I would love to meet you.  

On the critter front, the Alpacas are getting their "hair cuts" on April 2nd.  It will be fun to have another load of fiber to create with.  I know they will feel much cooler without those fleeces on too. 
 Who Me?

We will have 3 more goats joining us soon.  One, another Angora, who we have named Annie Oakley will arrive once she is weaned.  The names have started evolving around a theme of sorts....we have Bonnie and Clyde, Billy the Kid, and now little Annie. Poor Chessie must be feeling left out! The other two who are Pygora, are still "cooking" in their mommas bellies.  

And now finally some silliness from Billy my sunflower seed loving Angora.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weaving with Hand Spun

I recently completed a peg loom weaving.  I bought this loom so that I could make rugs with the seconds from my alpaca fiber and from coarser wool fleeces that I have purchased over the past few years.  The weaving I completed in these pictures is not for a rug, but for a wall hanging in my workshop.

In the picture above, I am using a wool yarn for the warp of the loom.  Since this part is not seen, you could use any color.  For my future rugs, I will be using a thick cotton warp or a nice rugged hemp.  

In this picture I am starting the first part of the weave.  I was amazed at how quickly this part goes.  Luckily I had a basket of hand spun that I could grab from.  The entire piece was woven from my chunky yarn and because I was weaving around the pegs, I could use super chunky yarn without worrying about the thickness. 

Look at all of lumps and bumps!  What I love most about weaving with this loom is that I do not lose the texture of my yarn!  I cannot describe how squishy, yet solidly secure this piece is!  Okay, that was 3 exclamatory statements in a row.......that should show you how much I love how this turned out.  :)

The final piece is a bit over 24" wide and 30" long.  

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another Long Lock Bag

Wet felted long locks bag

A few weeks ago I was in Asheville, N.C. taking a felted garment class.
I was able to hang out with some fiber friends while I was not in class and was asked to make a felted bag similar to the one I was carrying my stuff around in.  She sent me home with the long locks (an easy 10+ inches long) that she wanted me to used and Viola, here it is!  I added a chunky hand spun detail across the front to add a bit of sparkle, 'cause I know my friend loves her sparkle!

The seamless bag is finally finished and has been sent off to its new home.  I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her!
Detail of hand spun

Scarves Using Batts

Wet felted scarf

I have had many requests for scarves from friends lately.  I love most when I am just given a color and then told to make it fun.
Now that I have a dedicated workshop and am able to see all of my fibers in one place, making batts becomes a free for all!  The scarf pictured above is one that I kept.  I love these colors together.
Using batts to make scarves with tons of textures is a semi obsession for me right now.  For once I actually documented the process...well sorta'.

In this 1st picture above, the fibers have been layed out and wet down.

This next picture shows the scarf after a few hundred rolls. 

And finally the finished scarf.  This was the first felted project that I made using some of my own animals fiber.  I cannot tell you how thrilling it is to be able to do this!  

And here is a picture of my alpacas checking out Piper after her recent hair cut- she is not too concerned with them at all.  They get freaked out when she hops and take off out of their barn to pronk around their pasture.....they are big goofballs!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little Love....

For a quick and fabulously cute project, hop on over to Urban Stitch Studio Blog

I have made 1 1/2 of these sweet little hearts for my little sweethearts! I need to stitch and bead the second one tonight.

If you need something quick and fun for a special someone, this heart may fit the bill! 
 She (Pat) also sells a kit in her Etsy shop to make a much more detailed heart!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Felted vest class

Well I finally decided to try a garment. Living here in Florida makes it hard to justify felting clothing. We don't get cold enough to actually wear wool for more than a few days each winter. I saw a class being offered in Asheville for a nuno felted vest. I thought this would be my chance to make a garment I could actually wear! So off I headed to Asheville. The class was given by Suzanne Morgan, was lots of fun and I learned a lot. The long lock collar was the perfect addition!